"Invisible" disabilities : identity management and well-being in college students

    Item Description
    Linked Agent
    Creator (cre): Carlson, Tessa
    Creator (cre): Davies, Ashley
    Advisor (adv): Herbranson, Wally
    May 10, 2011
    Graduation Year

    The present study aimed to quantify relationships between internal and external identity management and well-being in individuals with two types of invisible disabilities: learning disabilities and a history of mental health problems. Participants were 111 college students (ages 18-52; 64% women) recruited via email lists who self-identified as having an invisible disability. Participants completed surveys measuring levels of internal identification with disability, outness about the disability, self-esteem, and self-determination. Correlational analysis revealed significant relationships between dis-identification with disability and both self-esteem and self-determination in students with invisible disabilities (p<.001, p = .006, respectively). The results highlight the stigmatizing effects of diagnostic labels for students with invisible disabilities and the need for a multidimensional scale to measure identification with disability.

    56 pages
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